Iconography of the city in Croatian paintings in the first half of the 20th century
A multimedia exhibition using the iconographic method presents the motif of the city in painting, drawing, printmaking, art photography, on posters and films as well as interdisciplinarily – in literature and music. With more than 150 artefacts unfolds a sequence of stories about the city, about its emblems and its synergy of urban contents, from streets and squares, boulevards and bridges, interiors and parks, promenades and peripheries to social and political themes, entertainment and sport, scenes of leisure and of children’s games, motifs inspired by the Eros and Thanatos of the slumbering city. In this atmosphere works of the most important artists of the Croatian Modern period are shown, from the Munich circle at the beginning of the 20th century to Socialist Realism and the beginnings of Abstractionism in the middle.
Twelve rooms of the Modern Gallery in the Vranyczany building are the venue for this exhibition, at which contemporary exhibition technology and traditional artistic values live happily side by side. In an innovative set-up anthology-piece works by Kraljević, Račić, and Steiner are on show, together with members of the Prague Four group, the Zemlja group and the Three, among whom one should in particular refer to Uzelac and Trepše, Hegedušić and Postružnik, Babić and Becić, then the first Parisian paintings of Junek, the early Motika, Kopač, Šimunović, the mature Generalić and Krizmanić, the early Prica, Rašica, Kovačević, the legendary photos of Dabac and drawings, prints and paintingsof seldom-exhibited artists such as Leović, Glumac, Filakovac, Venucci and Makanac.
The modern idioms in the works of these artist show that during their cruising of Europe they took on the spirit and modus vivendi of Paris, Vienna, Prague and Berlin and transferred them to Zagreb, Rijeka, Osijek and Split, converting them from their provincial spleen into vital urban centers.
The exhibition Iconography of the City is an attractive artistic experience, and a unique opportunity to discover one of the most exciting sides of a half-a-century-long section of the art of the country.
A look around this exhibition is a real privilege for today’s generation, to which the Modern Gallery affords a multitude of images of Croatian and European cities of the first half of the twentieth century.